Buffalo Bills defensive end Leonard Floyd (56) sacks New York Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers (8) early in the first quarter during the home opener at MetLife Stadium on Monday, Sept. 11, 2023, in East Rutherford. Rodgers was carted off the field after being hit. Credit: Danielle Parhizkaran/NorthJersey.com / USA TODAY NETWORK

Outside of the New York Jets and their fans, there perhaps wasn’t anyone affected more by Aaron Rodgers’ season-ending injury on Monday night than the NFL’s television partners.

When the 2023 regular-season schedule first came out, it didn’t come as much of a surprise that the league’s partners bet big on the Jets. Playing in the country’s biggest media market and laying claim to one of the best young rosters in football, New York entered the offseason seemingly a quarterback away from being a legitimate Super Bowl contender. And the Jets addressed that need by acquiring one of the most famous faces in the sport, a four-time MVP who has been involved in multiple celebrity relationships and who has been unafraid to make headlines by speaking his mind, for better or worse.

As such, the Jets were slated for no fewer than six nationally televised games this season, beginning with Monday’s opener against the Buffalo Bills on Monday Night Football. And while ESPN still got a great game—and likely even better ratings—Rodgers’ season-ending Achilles injury undoubtedly cast a shadow over the affair. (It certainly did for Mike Greenberg.)

That likely rang especially true for the league’s television partners, who—like the Jets—now find themselves staring at games featuring Zach Wilson where Aaron Rodgers was once expected. Fortunately for at least some of them, the NFL’s “flex scheduling” rules could allow them to make a change should New York’s season go off the rails, although they won’t all be so fortunate.

Un-flexible games

  • Week 4 (Oct. 1): Sunday Night Football vs. Kansas City Chiefs
  • Week 9 (Nov. 6): Monday Night Football vs. Los Angeles Chargers
  • Week 12 (Nov. 24): Prime Video vs. Miami Dolphins

Sorry NBC, ESPN and Amazon: You’re stuck with these games.

Flexible games

  • Week 10 (Nov. 12): Sunday Night Football at Las Vegas Raiders
  • Week 17 (Dec. 28): Thursday Night Football at Cleveland Browns

Based on the most recent flex scheduling rules, both the Jets’ Week 10 game against the Raiders and Week 17 game against the Browns are eligible to be flexed. Should the Jets fall out of contention, it’s certainly plausible—if not likely—that will happen.

While a lot can change between now and November, Week 10 possesses plenty of intriguing alternatives, including the Ravens vs. the Browns, the Chargers vs. the Lions, the Cowboys vs. the Giants and the Steelers vs. the Packers. Meanwhile, potential alternatives for Week 17 include the Bills vs. the Patriots, the Commanders vs. the 49ers, the Jaguars vs. the Panthers, the Ravens vs. the Dolphins and the Chiefs vs. the Bengals.

It’s also worth noting that there are limitations in place regarding how often the networks are able to flex games and safeguards in place for networks to protect their own games from being flexed. But barring an unprecedented turnaround from Wilson, it’s hard to imagine the Jets playing their full allotment of primetime games.

[Warren Sharp on Twitter]

About Ben Axelrod

Ben Axelrod is a veteran of the sports media landscape, having most recently worked for NBC's Cleveland affiliate, WKYC. Prior to his time in Cleveland, he covered Ohio State football and the Big Ten for outlets including Cox Media Group, Bleacher Report, Scout and Rivals.